The Los Angeles Police Department has 21 patrol divisions, each with between 150 and 250 patrol vehicles. Additionally, each patrol division has a set of unique operating conditions specific to that particular division. Each division maintains its own repair station to handle routine maintenance and minor repairs. Each is equipped to function in the case of a complete electrical blackout.
Their Central Shops Facility operates on a 24/7 basis and they also have repair stations at Piper Technical Center near the downtown area, and a repair station at their EVOC training facility. LAPD also maintains other repair facilities, medium and heavy-duty repair facilities throughout the city to handle major repairs, such as engine and transmission issues.
Most repair stations are equipped with a chassis dynamometer, which can measure engine performance without being driven on the streets. The dynos are also used for speedometer certification, emission testing, and to break in newly rebuilt engines.
LAPD does their own collision repair work, which includes a state-of-the-art, computerized frame-alignment machine to maintain OEM tolerances. Vehicles that are total losses are cannibalized for useful parts. This practice translates to an annual savings of $350K.
LAPD Motor Transport Division operates six tow trucks and has contracts with private towing companies. A disabled police vehicle can get service attention quickly. Additionally, LAPD operates mobile repair stations, for use during unusual occurrences such as natural disasters or riots. These mobile repair stations can be moved to remote locations and emergency repairs can be made out in the field, if preventative maintenance is needed, or if tires, brakes, or windshields need to be replaced.
Part of the successful Motor Transport customer service is due to the team efforts of Vartan Yegiyan, a veteran of 30 years of vehicle maintenance experience, and Sergeant Daniel Gomez, who has 18 years of experience as a sworn police officer. With their combined knowledge, both know what to expect from a police vehicle. Together, along with their staff, they have managed to keep LAPD’S fleet of over 5,000 vehicles on the road, accumulating between 55 and 60 million miles annually. The LAPD fleet also includes 500 motorcycles, which are mostly Harley-Davidson, although there are a few Kawasakis and BMWs integrated within their fleet.
Motor Transport Division has had good success using re-refined oil in the vehicles that can tolerate such a lubricant. Otherwise, they stick with the factory recommendations. Motor Transport specifies Original Equipment (or equivalent) replacement parts on their vehicles, especially suspension, steering, brake and electrical components.
Consumable goods, i.e., tires, wiper blades and filters, are purchased on a bid basis. As for the other components, like police electronics, Yegiyan indicated the MTD is “technologically agnostic.” That means they have no specific allegiance to any particular brands or manufacturer, but want the best bang for the taxpayer’s buck.
LAPD does their own vehicle upfitting. MTD uses FleetFocus MCMS by AssetWorks fleet management software to keep tabs on this large fleet. They have plans to upgrade the software and eventually make everything paperless.
MTD is an official warranty repair and service provider for Ford, BMW and Harley-Davidson. If in the future, sufficient quantities of Chevrolet and/or Dodge are added to the fleet, they will apply to become warranty providers for those makes. Otherwise, warranty work is done by a local dealer.
Considering the 10,000 sworn personnel on LAPD, Yegiyan says vehicle abuse is seldom a problem. If vehicle abuse is suspected, it is documented and the facts are forwarded to the officer’s divisional command staff for follow-up.
Like many other public agencies, in these tough economic times, LAPD has had to do more with less. Within the past two years, Motor Transport Division had a 39 percent reduction in staff, mostly due to attrition or persons opting for early retirement. Their fleet was also reduced by 350 vehicles.
Yet with their forced downsizing and restructuring of staff and priorities, along with reduced training, Motor Transport Division has increased productivity by 15 percent, reduced operating costs by 6 percent, and their labor rates are still very competitive with outside vendors at an hourly rate of $64.41. Despite all of their downsizing, over 97 percent of their fleet (excluding vehicles damaged by collisions) is available for service at any one time.
MTD also saves money by occasionally purchasing late-model, non-police package vehicles for specialized uses, such as undercover vehicles. These types of vehicles are purchased under strict age, mileage, and remaining warranty guidelines. This saves the city approximately 30 percent from the cost of a comparable new vehicle.
Yegiyan credits the dedication of his 176-member staff for MTD’s success. “Quality starts with customer needs and ends with customer satisfaction.” Yegiyan also credits the full support of the Charlie Beck, LAPD’s chief of police.
John Bellah is the technical editor of Police Fleet Manager and a retired corporal with the California State University, Long Beach Police. He may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.